Tuesday, January 30, 2007


A good lesson

I've completed a full year of lessons - 24 so far. Looking back, I can see that I have come a long, long way (even if I can't see any changes from day to day).

We started off talking about strings, bows and luthiers. I tried both of her bows. One, a carbon-fiber, felt light and easy in my hand. The other was surprisingly balanced more toward the frog. Both bows still caused that open G squeak on my g-string. She did point out that I'm still apparently using too much rosin. I only apply it twice a week (or so). I should also clean the rosin off the strings after playing. I usually do this, but I've let it go these past few days. It is an issue to bring up with the luthier next week. From all that, I've gotten curious about trying some new bows while I'm there. We talked, too, about brands and types of strings. There's a cellist who comes to Homer every summer, who has an ear for matching strings to cellos. Maybe I'll get him to look at mine next time he's here.

We worked through the various practice points in "Gavotte". We discussed ways to break down these into discrete groups, and talked about bowing and string crossings on the upbows. She pointed out some right arm/wrist and bow push/pull issues for me to pay attention to. Then we played through "Two Lonely Soldiers", "Moon over the Ruined Castle" and "Witches' Dance". My playing was a sort of clumsy at first, but then I settled down and played them through comfortably, and surprisingly good (with really positive feedback from my teacher). We worked through the remaining "issues" in these pieces. We played one or two duets from Suzuki 1, where I played the harmony parts - interesting.

Then, briefly, we went through some of the orchestra pieces. I had a few questions about fingering and bowing. I asked her to again play "Ashokan Farewell". I've been trying to work on it at home, but I can't seem to "hear" it yet. I had played through it on my old keyboard, but it helped to hear it done at a normal tempo. We sorted out some fingering issues and she suggested I spend the next few weeks playing it pizzicato for a while, and then bow it but without the slurs.

I ran out of time before I got a chance to talk about the LeClerc piece and the upcoming recital. Oh well, the less I know about it, the less I will obsess over it. There's still plenty of time for that.

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